Tuesday, February 24, 2009


I stand in the space between my house and the street. Trees and shrubbery take up the openness. I enjoy the warmth of the sun on this winter day. A shadow passes over me, moving across the landscape swiftly. By the time I look up to see what caused it, the perpetrator is gone.

I look around. In the distant heights now I see a bird. It is large. Vultures are not around this time of the year, so I guess it to be a raven or a hawk. Our ravens are not as magnificent as those around the Grand Canyon or Bryce Canyon in Utah, yet they are more stately than their cousins, the crows and grackles. Sure, they sound like crows, but, please, we are talking stature here. These ravens are near the bottom of the food chain for black birds. They are scavengers, but not large enough to kill much. The huge variety around the canyons could scare the crap out of me with their bulk and size. These local birds are less frightening. They are closer to crows than the others.

Our resident hawks are becoming rare. We used to have them nesting in tall trees around us. We enjoyed the sounds they and their children made as they practiced flying in late spring. The adult birds used to attack their reflection in our windows on the top floor, so we put large pictures inside to make the reflection of them less inciting. Now these magnificent birds are mostly visitors. We still have some open space around where they can nest. But it is diminishing. It may have to do with people using poison to kill their prey. We miss them.

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